Malaysia and Singapore are both located in Southeast Asia and share a unique history. Despite their common ancestry, the two nations have developed in significantly different ways, having adopted separate systems of government, approaches to development and diverse cultures.
Malaysia is located in the Malay Peninsula and the island of Borneo and spans 329,847 km2. Singapore is a much smaller island nation of just 710 km2. Malaysia is characterized by rugged mountainous terrain and lush rainforests, while Singapore is primarily a lower-lying and densely urbanized environment.
Malaysia also controls a number of smaller territories, including Labuan, an island off the coast of Sabah in East Malaysia, and the Pedra Branca, a prominent rocky outcropping situated in the South China Sea.
Malaysia has been a constitutional monarchy since independence in 1957 and is currently governed by the Barisan Nasional coalition. The country’s head of state is the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Prime Minister is selected from among the party members of the ruling coalition.
In contrast, Singapore has been a sovereign republic since 1965 and is governed as one-party state, with the People’s Action Party providing a policy direction and framework for governance. The country is led by the Prime Minister and a cabinet of ministers, headed and appointed by Lee Hsien Loong, the son of Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew.
The linguistically diverse population of Malaysia is dominated by Malay, the official language of the country, with English and other indigenous languages such as Iban, Kadazan and Dusun actively spoken in various regions. Mandarin Chinese is also widely used by the minority Chinese community.
In contrast, Singapore recognizes four languages as official, English, Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil. English is the most widely spoken language in the country and serves as a common language for the diverse range of ethnic and cultural groups. Mandarin is mainly used by the Chinese community, while the Malay language is used mainly by the Sunni Muslims
4. Currency & Economy
Malaysia uses the Malaysian Ringgit (RM) as its currency. The economy is diverse, with services accounting for more than 60 percent of growth and industry and agriculture accounting for the remainder. Malaysia is one of the most export-dependent economies in Southeast Asia and the 11th most competitive economy in the world according to the World Economic Forum (WEF).
The Singapore Dollar (SGD) is the official currency of Singapore. The country’s economy has been built around the port-city of Singapore and is mainly focused on financial and business services, technology and electronics manufacturing. Singapore is the second-most competitive economy in the world according to the WEF.
Education in Malaysia is overseen by the Ministry of Education, which is responsible for establishing the national educational curriculum and setting national standards. The system consists of primary, secondary and higher institutions, with the language of instruction being either English or Bahasa Malaysia.
In Singapore, education is managed by the Ministry Of Education and includes primary, secondary and university levels. The primary language of instruction is English and students are required to achieve a certain level of proficiency in their mother tongue, be it Mandarin, Malay or Tamil.
Islam is the official religion of Malaysia and is practiced by over 60% of the population. Buddhism, Taoism and Hinduism are also practiced, alongside Christianity among a minority of ethnic Chinese. Religious freedom is respected and the various religions are co-exist peacefully.
In Singapore, religion is not officially enforced by the government, but Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism are the main religions practiced by the majority of the population. Christianity is also practiced by a significant minority, as is Islam and Hinduism.
Malaysia is a multicultural nation, where various ethnic and cultural groups have lived in peace and in harmony for centuries. The culture is a unique blend of Indian, Chinese, Arab and European influences and has resulted in a vibrant and diverse society.
Singapore is highly multi-ethnic and has a very diverse range of cultures. The three major ethnic groups are Chinese, Malay and Indian, with each group having its own distinctive culture and customs. Singaporean culture is strongly influenced by its long history of trading and its connections with the wider Asian region.
Malaysian cuisine is a unique mixture of Malay, Chinese and Indian influences, with a broad range of regional dishes found across the country. Popular dishes include Nasi Lemak, Mee Rebus, Laksa and Satay. Due to the large Chinese population, Chinese-style dishes such as Char Kway Teow and Hokkien Mee are also widely available.
Singaporean cuisine is highly diverse, but is primarily a blend of Chinese, Malay and Indian styles. Popular dishes include Hainanese Chicken Rice, Laksa, Chili Crab and Nasi Briyani. There is also a vibrant food culture found in hawker centres, where a host of local snacks, such as Roti Prata and Fish Head Curry, can be found.
Malaysia has become a popular tourist destination in recent years due to its rich natural beauty. Popular attractions include historic cities, sandy beaches, tropical islands, lush forests and national parks. Malaysia also hosts a number of major events such as the Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix and the Malaysia Cup.
Singapore has long been a popular tourist destination due to its diverse culture, world-class attractions, shopping, vibrant nightlife and rich history. Popular attractions include the Singapore Zoo, Orchard Road, Little India, and Sentosa Island. The Singapore Grand Prix is also a major event held in the city.
Malaysia and Singapore are closely connected by history but differ significantly in terms of geography, government, language and economy. Each nation has its own unique culture and cuisine and is a popular tourist destination in its own right. Though they are two distinct countries, they remain closely linked through their shared heritage and cultural ties.